How To Successfully Serve Your Legal Documents. According to Canadian law, if someone wants to file a legal matter, he must notify the defendant through Personal or Substitute service.  The Canadian rules of process serving is to appoint someone ( anyone above the age of 18, who is not involved in the court proceeding; could be your friend or family member) to serve the defendant(s) with copies of the documents you filed with the court.

Without serving the legal papers on the defendant or respondent, no lawsuit can proceed. You must ensure that the defendant is aware of the case and when it will happen. This process gives the defendant enough time to raise a defense or respond to the legal action against them. 

This procedure of giving the defendant a notice of the legal proceeding is called the “Service of Process”. There are strict rules for performing these services.

Failure to abide by them can lead to case dismissal, attract a fine, or restart the case.


How to Successfully Serve Your Legal Documents


There are some important aspect of process serving you need to know in other to serve your legal documents successfully. Let us first start with:


Who can serve a legal document?


Serving the legal copies will depend on the type of court document. Nevertheless, you cannot personally serve the documents if you’re a party. The person to help you serve the papers can be a friend, a relative who is 18 years , or an experienced process server. Remember, the person serving the documents, must not be a party to the case. These rules are part of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures. In some cases, the court can appoint a person or hire a process server.

The person to serve the documents must complete a proof of service form (usually called the Affidavit of Service) to inform the court when, where, and whom they served. The process of process serving can be a bit challenging, especially if you don’t know what you are doing.

So, hiring a professional process server is the best option. A process server understands the law requirements. Thus, they can help you make informed decisions  and reduce mistakes associated with process serving.

With that being said, you can serve your legal documents in the following ways:


Ways you can serve legal documents


Personal service


This type of service involves appointing someone to hand-deliver (serve) the court papers — the person will have to take the documents to the house or workplace of i.e. the defendant or respondent to serve them personally. What happens if the defendant refuses to accept the documents they are being serve with? The person serving the documents can drop or leave the document by the defendant’s feet. 

If they don’t find the defendant at home / work, they must make  at least two more attempts to serve the defendant.

If they still can’t serve the defendant after three attempts, then the process server will have to provide the person who hired them with an affidavit of attempted service. See more FAQs 


Alternate to personal 


This type of service occurs when the process server can’t serve the defendant personally. After several failed attempts in serving the other party, the process server can leave the legal document with a responsible adult in the same household as the defendant. On the same day or the next day, the process server must mail (registered mail or courier) another copy of the document to the defendant’s place of residence.


Substituted Service


Even though you can choose to serve your documents by substituted service i.e. registered mail, courier, email, or fax.  It is important to note that in some cases you need the permission of the judge in other to serve your documents using this method.

For the judge to approve alternative services, you must:

  • File a motion to allow the court to accept the alternative service
  • Offer a declaration statement explaining how you tried the method of service but couldn’t succeed.
  • Appear before the judge to provide information about your effort to find the other party.


How will you know when there is a successful service of process?


One way to know that the service of process was successful is when the other party who you served acknowledges receipt of the documents. Also, another way to tell is when the process server provides with a sworn affidavit of service. Regardless of who served the legal documents, he/she must file the affidavit of service directly with the court as soon as possible or hand over the Affidavit of service to you to file in the court yourself .

You risk getting your case dismissed if you don’t file your affidavit of service. dismissal. Court cases can be stressful, especially if you don’t have experience in serving your legal documents.

In other to serve your legal documents successfully, you should : 


Hire a process server through the Court Runner APP


If you want to serve the court papers to the right party effectively, download the court runner app and hire a professional process server in your area. Not all Process servers have the expertise and experience of delivering legal documents. Many case dismissals come as a result of bad service of process i.e. delivering legal papers to the wrong party.

Court Runner professional process servers understand the A-Z of process serving. We have several years of experience serving legal documents. We know different techniques that will allow them to efficiently serve the papers. We can also help you locate a skip. We are fast, reliable, and organized. 


How much does process serving cost?


The cost to hire a process server cost anywhere between $120 – $230 depending on the mileage, attempts, etc. At court runner we charge a flat fee of $60 plus HST for regular service. This fee does not include mileage, photocopies (if you email the documents), and postage. On the average, you should be looking to spend around $150 ( this fee includes HST, three attempts, photocopies, parking, 60kms mileage). 


Last words


I hope this article on how to successfully serve your legal documents has given you insight regarding process serving in Canada. You may also read our step by step guide to serving legal documents if you want to learn more